© 2015 Wazari Wazir | View From Trans-Siberian Railway Journey From The Train Window | Siberia
“The sky is insane, in a fluster of fresh air, dazed with light. Images of intense beauty spring up, and vanish. Is that the apparition of a god? I’m incapable of talking the slightest photo, which would be a double offence: a sin of inattention and an insult to the moment.”
– Sylvain Tesson –
I think many of you here have watch “The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty,” film. There was a scene where Walter Mitty asked a LIFE photographer named Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) “When are you going to take it?,” Walter Mitty wanted to know when Sean O’Connell will take a picture of Snow Leopard (It is not very easy to spot one in the wild). But instead of snapping all the frames he can, he simply sits and stars in wonder.
To that question, Sean O’Connell replied, “Sometimes I don’t,” he replies. “If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”“Stay in it?”
That scene caused a great discussion and debate among photographers community. Some said that he should take the picture first and enjoy the moment later and the other said, he should take the pictographs because he was paid to do so. Nowadays special moments are recorded instead of being enjoyed.
Anyway I don’t want to create another argument here, if you are the photographers, you should know better, there is a time when we should focus on our hand at work and there is a time where we can just enjoy the moment.
On April 26, 2014, The Honourable Barack Obama, President of The United States of America came to Malaysia for an official visit Malaysia and I was among the few photographers who were given the task to capture the historical visit. During the inspection of honour guard by the President, I wish I just can sit back and enjoy the very moment, I wish I can cherished the moment taken by the President when he took the time walking the red carpet and inspect the honour guard, I wish I can cherished the moment uninterrupted by the camera, from the moment he step out of The Beast (The Presidential State Car) up until he gets back inside The Beast again.
But then, I was on assignment, I was “Paid” to capture every moment taken by the POTUS, because every moment is a moment in history especially for Malaysia. Did I miss anything? Off course not, actually in fact I do take quite a few second just to watch the President with my naked eye, uninterrupted by the camera. I just don’t want to watch the moment in history 100% from the tiny space of my viewfinder camera.
Okay then, back to the picture above, where I took during my Solo Trans-Siberian Railway journey last year. It’s a long journey, more than 8500 KM crossing Siberia from Saint Petersburg to Beijing China through Mongolia. Undoubtedly there are many fantastic view along the way, I can say that Siberia look beautiful in winter, maybe not so “beautiful” for the locals because Siberian winter is so harsh, I can hardly seen anyone playing outside their house along the journey, at first I think, they must have abandoned their house during winter to some other places and get back on summer.
Frankly speaking, on this epic journey, I took less photographs that I supposed to. I’m enjoying more and capturing less, why? Because I can. I’m not on assignment anyway, nobody paid me for this trip. I’ve no regret for not bring back a beautiful picture back home to share with friends and family. Nevertheless I’ve had a great time there. To be honest also I let go a lot off “Great Picture”, I let go a lot of great picturesque village along the journey. There are plenty of Siberian photograph on the net if you want to look at and I just don’t want to add another more.
Nowadays some people are bragging about their new super 4K TV set. How beautiful their picture appear on the screen, its like almost like a reality, Its like when you were watching a National Geographic programme, it makes you feels like you were there, high up on the mountain, inhaling mountain fresh air, or surrounded by the lion on the safari, its nonsense.
The only way to get full resolution of what Life has to offer is to buy a ticket, flight ticket, ferry tickets, train tickets or anything that will take you there. But then, we are different, some people just wanted to travel the world from the comfort of their couch with a popcorn on their right hand and a remote control on the other hand.
Yes, there is a time that I feel so guilty for capturing more pictures, instead of enjoying the moment more. That’s why on the Trans-Siberian Railway journey, I travel light, with a compact Fujifilm X100T camera, instead of my normal big bulky DSLR. I want to enjoy my journey more and worry less about my camera, but then, you and I are not the same.
Last but not least, I just wanted to tell you this, there is a fantastic view along the way starting from the border of Mongolia – China to Beijing, the train cross so many bridges, passing through so many tunnel, I don’t know how many because it was so many and I’ve no regret for not having any picture taken because I was in the moment.
“If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”
– Sean O’Connell –
*About the Sylvain Tesson quote above, it was taken from the book he wrote title Consolation of The Forest, where he spent six months alone in the wilderness of Siberia on the shore of Lake Baikal. Up until I write this post, I still haven’t finish the book, talking about cherish the moment, cherish every words he wrote.